Go Zooiiiiing

The historical character of the Artis zoo is quite apparent even before one enters the gates of the zoo. It is the oldest zoo with two golden eagles perched proudly atop the main entrance. One can enjoy the 19th-century atmosphere of the gardens: the winding paths, majestic trees, the fascinating sculptures and the monumental historical buildings.

Artis is not only a zoo but a haven of peace and quiet right in the city centre of Amsterdam. Artis having an area of 14 hectares around with 700 species of animals is a fascinating zoo providing a magnificent overview of the entire animal kingdom. Amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, mammals and insects. all are superbly represented.The Aquarium at the Artis zoo brings one face to face with the secret life of Amsterdam's canals! One can find many Dutch and European animal and plant species, along with more exotic species.

The Planetarium, the museums and all kinds of smaller exhibitions is there for any person who wants to gain knowledge.Its atmospheric, 19th century character with ponds, ancient formal gardens and trees makes Artis ideally suited to the casual stroller. Alongside the Predator Gallery, the original design of an English stately home garden gives way to the Classical 'French Gardens' (laid out in 1891), called the Dutch Garden. The eight-meter high Westerman monument commemorates Artis's founder.

Marble statues of the Four Seasons border this geometrical garden.Few zoos are as well endowed with listed buildings as Artis. Twenty of historical monuments bear diamond-shaped plaques with an inscription from a bygone age.

Some examples are the Large Museum (1855), the Library building (1867) and the Aquarium (1882). The romantic Masmanhuisje predates the foundation of Artis (1838). It now houses the ibises. The stroll is made even more romantic by a visit to the two, larger than life, 18th century Bodhisatva statues (also known as Buddhas). These were brought to Artis from Japan more than a century ago. These Sculptures which are exhibited all over the park, along with a Japanese garden offers restful moments away from exciting city life.

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By: Rahul Viz

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